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Investment Banking Associate Salary Guide

Updated figures for base and bonus investment banking salaries for IB Associates in New York and London.

Investment banking associates are typically hired after business school.  The investment banking associate salary is comprised of a base and a bonus.  For a first year investment banking associate in New York City the base salary is $150,000, and associates will receive a year end bonus in the range of $90,000-$120,000. Absolute top performers will get a bonus as high as $130,000.

The all in comp for most 1st year associates thus comes to around $240,000-$270,000.

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For competitive reasons, base salaries are fairly standard during all 3 years at most investment banks at $150k, $175k, $200k for year 1, year 2, and year 3, respectively.  Meanwhile, bonus disparity based on associate performance grows over time. All in comp is usually just a bit lower at large middle market investment banks , but can get considerably lower at small regional firms outside of New York.  Elite boutiques generally pay in line or better than bulge brackets.

Below is a table summarizing average compensation for stub year, 1st year, 2nd year and 3rd year associates.

A note on the stub year: Associates usually arrive in the summer after completing business school. Instead of paying the bonus 12 months later, banks pay associates (and analysts) their bonus for just the next 5 months ("stub bonus") to reset them to a December 31 calendar year end. Bonuses for the past year are usually communicated January and February ("bonus season").

Investment banking associate salary in New York

Position Base Salary Bonus All-In Comp
Stub year Associate
  • $150,000 (pro rated for stub)
  • Up to $60,000 signing / relocation bonuses
  • Lower at smaller regional middle market firms
  • $30,000-$40,000 stub bonus paid in Jan/Feb
  • Bonus has less variance than later on because there hasn't been enough time to gauge associate performance
NM due to stub period
1st Year Associate
  • $150,000
  • Adjust down a bit at smaller regional middle market firms
  • Low: $90,000
  • Mid: $110,000
  • High: $130,000
$240,000 - $270,000
2nd Year Associate
  • $175,000
  • Some going to $200,000 but in lieu of lower bonus
  • Low: $100,000
  • Mid: $140,000 - $180,000
  • High: $215,000
$275,000 - $390,000
3rd Year Associate
  • $200,000
  • Some going to $225,000 in lieu of lower bonus
  • Low: $120,000
  • Mid: $180,000 - $220,000
  • High: $250,00
$320,000 - $450,000

Investment banking associate salary in London and Europe

As is the case in the United States, investment banking associate base salaries don't vary too much from firm to firm: Stub year associates receive £80k, followed by £95k, £105k, £120k for year 1, year 2, and year 3, respectively.

As you can see from the table below, some bonus disparity exists across firms as well as based on associate performance.  All in comp is usually a bit lower at large middle market investment banks, and slightly higher or in line at Elite boutiques.

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Position Base Salary Bonus All-In Comp
Stub Year Associate
  • £80,000 is the "standard"
  • Up to £30,000 signing bonus
  • £25,000 - £30,000 stub bonus paid in Jan/Feb
£105,000-£110,000 (excluding signing bonus)
1st Year Associate
  • £95,000 is the "standard"
  • Low: £60,000
  • Mid: £70,000
  • High: £85,000
£160,000-£165,000
2nd Year Associate
  • £105,000
  • Low: £85,000
  • Mid: £95,000
  • High: £110,000
£190,000 - £215,000
3rd Year Associate
  • £120,000
  • Low: £90,000
  • Mid: £110,000
  • High: £130,000
£210,000 - £250,000

Why are bonuses variable?

The bonus component is a function of individual performance and group/firm performance.  What this means is that you could be a rock star, but if your group/firm is not closing deals and bringing in revenue, your bonus component will suffer.  And, unfortunately, during times when deals are not happening, the work load doesn’t necessarily die down.  You are always pitching with the aim of closing deals even in bad markets, so in slower economic cycles when bonuses decline across the board, being an investment banker becomes less appealing given the grueling hours.

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